the Problem Based Learning (PBL) system is set to be fully implemented at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery this year. But doubts continue to hound the system.

Some professors even think that there is no need to change the old system that has worked for the Medicine students. They say that PBL remains untested, its benefits ambivalent.

The new system relies mostly on modular-based teaching, which involves four phases. The first phase is involved in the conceptualization of the study. The second is concentrated on research, where the groups do extensive study on assigned topics. The third is centered on the improvement of the students’ laboratory skills. The last stage is the correlation phase in which the professors provide supplementary lectures.

In a letter to Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P., the University of Santo Tomas Faculty Union (USTFU) said the faculty members are having doubts about the new system. Despite preparing for the full implementation of PBL, some professors wish to go back to the traditional system, the union said.

Attached to the letter is the USTFU’s faculty survey on the implementation of the PBL, and several surveys from universities abroad that pointed to its inefficiency.

A professor who requested anonymity called the first batch of students who underwent PBL as a “disaster.”

He added professors need more time to prepare before PBL’s carefully implemented and that many issues need to be clarified. For instance, if a student fails in one module, it is still uncertain if he can proceed to the next module.

Foreign students on local grounds

Professors also find it difficult to adjust to their new schedule and load, the source said.

However, according to Dean Dr. Angeles Tan-Alora, “nobody is ever totally ready for any curricular change.” “With PBL, learning is integrated and student-directed. We are able to emphasize values,” she said.

“It depends on how you understand being ready. If being ready is an attitude, then those who change are ready for it. Those who are against it are not,” Dr. Tan–Alora said.

On the other hand, the students seem excited about the new system.

“I like the PBL because it is student-directed. (You) have more time to study (you are) less pressured,” said Medicine freshman Erwin Dolores.

However, another student, Raul Mantes Jr. said the new system pressures students to work harder. Teodoro Lorenzo A. Fernandez and Maria Pacita C. Joson


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